Boris Notgodunov

Ben Jennings on Boris Johnson and the London Bridge attack

by Ben Jennings, image removed on request

I’m struggling to get my head around everything at the moment. Leaving aside the terror attack for a moment I’m struggling to understand why some people are happily intending to vote Tory despite knowing full well that Boris Johnson habitually lies. They almost seem to adopt an indulgent attitude to his duplicity as though he were a toddler trying to walk and continually falling over. ‘It shows he’s human,’ said one voter – yet at the same time these people magnify the sins, not to mention the glasses, of the other leaders. I’m really starting to think we’re in Looking-Glass Land here, where black is white and white is at the very least a dirty shade of grey *. Whilst Labour’s faults (and yes, they do exist) are blown up out of all proportion poor sweet little Boris can lie, cheat and hypocritise (if there is such a word) his way to the top.

Perhaps people like him because there’s a little bit of Boris in them too. Or perhaps it gives them a sort of licence to behave badly, as though Boris Johnson were a political Lord of Misrule, only much less fun; as though they too can try out fathering illegitimate children, having ‘oven-ready’, content-free ideas and avoiding interviews on the BBC. To their eternal shame, the Beeb have allowed Johnson effectively to pick and choose which interviews he does and to avoid the scrutiny of Andrew Neil to which all the other leaders have been mercilessly subjected. It doesn’t seem to matter how low he sinks, the response is ‘Aw, bless!’ like the family of that struggling toddler.

Something is definitely rotten in the state of Britain. But unlike Tony (everything’s gone to pot since I left) Blair, who reckons we have the craziest politics in the world, I don’t see this as a purely national phenomenon. Boris Johnson is cast in the same mould as Trump, Bolsonaro and possibly Putin: authoritarian, self-serving bullshitters to a man.

See this interview for just one example.

I regard this election as a test – not of the leaders so much as of the people. If the British people are really stupid enough to elect this man, I don’t think I want to live here any more. So as Hugh Grant steps up to beg people not to vote Tory, so I beg: deliver us from this evil and put a cross in the box of anyone progressive who can keep him from moving back into Number Ten.

Kirk out

*I guess we should be thankful that it’s just one and not fifty